This entry was posted by Thursday, 26 February, 2009
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Anonymous wants to know why a tiny virus can make such a mess of a person’s life and, by the way, wants to know how solar cells work. Look here, Anonymous. I’m not Mister Wizard! I don’t get PAID to answer questions. But I suppose I do have a moral obligation to try.

Well, like you said, viruses seem too small to cause all that trouble. A hundred BILLIONTHS of a meter, more-or-less, they’re a very primitive form of life. And it took a while to appreciate the fact that they are a form of life at all since they’re parasitic in nature and need to invade and take over a living cell, using it to reproduce; bacteria are independent life forms and don’t have this crazy behavior. Here’s a link if you want a clear and detailed explanation. http://health.howstuffworks.com/virus-human1.htm

When people complain about “germs” they’re usually talking about both viruses and bacteria. Bacteria can often be controlled by antibiotics Viruses, unfortunately, can not.

What we think about these creatures has changed. We now realize that we are colonized by many thousands of different species of bacteria and viruses and that only a small percentage of them cause us harm. As a matter of fact, we rely on the friendly effects of many of them to function normally. We are walking bug colonies.

I’m sorry. I KNEW you didn’t want to know that.

Getting to why viruses and bacteria make us feel so wretched. Well, obviously, they don’t. Not, if we are the “big tent” for so many of them. But the occasional one that does cause trouble does so because our immune system reacts, believing it to be a “foreign” invader (probably from YOUR doggone body!) When that happens, our temeratures increase (fever) to create a hostile environment for the foreigner and a flood of mucus tries to wash it away, practically choking you to death till things are resolved. It is a totally miserable experience and you do feel like crap warmed over for a while.

Solar cells next time.

One Response to “B-U-G-S”

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous appreciates the response. Enough insight without overkill.

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